Hologram inherits billions

Tycoon's family in feud with his avatar wife's lawyers

Dr Akihiro Miaku the famous Japanese tycoon who died earlier this year under mysterious circumstances (rumoured poisoning) is back in the headlines, after his will was leaked to the press by a disgruntled, anonymous, family member.

Dr Miaku, who had significant business interests in the Japanese renewable energy sector, was revealed to have left his entire 3 billion Yen (27.5 million USD) fortune to his wife – a hologram nicknamed Suzi.

The eccentric billionaire married his hologram wife 11 years ago in a lavish ceremony, to the great amusement of Japanese high society. Although Dr Miaku was by no means the first person to marry a hologram, he was certainly the most famous man to do so.

His two sons from a previous marriage to the former starlet, Mei Mei Ito, are rumoured to be furious that they were not mentioned in Dr Miaku’s will at all.

It is unclear at this stage who will be appointed as Suzi’s official guardians and gain effective control of the massive estate.

Although holograms, like other forms of artificial intelligence, are allowed to be registered as ‘legal persons’ in Japan (as Suzi was registered before her marriage), their rights are limited under the controversial ‘Robot Rights Bill of 2032’ in Japanese law, which restricts their ability to own certain assets.

BlingBling Co, the company that originally created Suzi according to Dr Miaku’s wishes, has filed an application through their lawyers to [quote] “Re-adopt Suzi, as we know her wishes better and love her more than anyone else ever could.”

His sons have filed their own counter application, believing that they should get control of Suzi (and the money).

The court case has attracted the attention of law firms and taxmen across Japan. The outcome will set a precedent for whether or not virtual avatars should be allowed to inherit real assets at all, and if so, who gets to decide how the funds are managed, and, more to the point, how should the avatar be taxed?

One thing is for sure, hungry lawyers (whose incomes are under pressure the world over, thanks to law-bots such as DoNotPay cutting into their once-fat margins) smell some serious money ahead!

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